Jazz Prospecting: April 2013

Antonio Adolfo: Finas Misturas (2012 [2013], Adventure Music): Pianist from Brazil, has close to 20 albums since 1992. Half originals, half jazz covers (Coltrane, Gillespie, Evans, Jarrett, Corea), with two guitarists, bass, drums, and Marcelo Martins on tenor sax and flute. B+(*)

Aguankó: Elemental (2012 [2013], RKO): Alberto Nacif, conguero (plays congas), b. in Mexico, based in Michigan, has been in groups like Tumbao and Tumbao Bravo. First album for this group, with Jose Espinosa (b. in Havana, Cuba) on bongos, timbales, and guiro; Paul Finkbeiner on trumpet, Chris Smith on trombone, Wesley Reynoso on piano, and various others. Afro-Cuban jazz, sometimes relaxes a bit but feels plenty authentic to me. B+(***)

JD Allen: Grace (2012 [2013], Savant): Tenor saxophonist, from Detroit; has a handful of albums since 1999. Originally a hard charger, has backed off quite a bit lately, especially here. Quartet includes Eldar Djangirov on piano, playing with exceptional delicacy. B+(**)

Akua Allrich: Live!: Uniquely Standard (2012, self-released): Singer, from Washington, DC; second album, a live one with one-and-a-half originals, the standards doubling up on Nina Simone. Allrich can be a fierce, riveting singer, as the first half of "Black Coffee" shows, but she has no restraints and can scat with the worst of them, as the second half of "Black Coffee" proves, not to mention the worst version of "Afro Blue" I've ever heard. B-

Duo Baars-Henneman: Autumn Songs (2012 [2013], Wig): Ig Henneman on viola, Ab Baars on tenor sax, clarinet, shakuhachi. Henneman tends to lead, pushing the limits of high lonesome. Baars is complementary, especially on clarinet. B+(***)

Berserk! (2013, Rare Noise): Collaboration between singer Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari (aka LEF, has appeared in groups Transgender, Litania, Ashes, Costituto, Somma, Owls, Obake) and bassist Lorenzo Felicati. Extra musicians include some jazz names -- Gianluca Petrella (trombone), Jamie Saft (keybs), Eivind Aarset (guitar) -- but record is rockish, veering toward doom near the end. B+(*) [advance]

Michiel Braam: EBraam 3 (2012 [2013], BBB): Dutch avant pianist, just credited with "keys" here, his bassist Pieter Douma on bass guitar, with Dirk-Peter Kölsch on drums, a group he calls "eBraam (in which case the album is just 3). Closes with a Hugh Hopper song -- not sure who does the vocal, but it comes as a surprise. B+(*)

Cristina Braga: Samba, Jazz and Love (2012 [2013], Enja): From Brazil, plays harp and sings, tenth album since 1998 (according to AMG), some classical, but her 2010 Harpa Bossa started to recast classic samba using harp instead of guitar, and this continues in that quest. Group includes trumpet, bass, vibes, and percussion, the harp not all that obvious until your clued in. Voice reminds one of Astrud Gilberto. B+(**)

Anthony Branker & Word Play: Uppity (2012 [2013], Origin): Composer, originally played trumpet but stopped after a medical problem; studied at Princeton, Miami, and Columbia, and directs the jazz program at Princeton. Sixth album, second with this group: Ralph Bowen (tenor sax) and Jim Ridl (piano) are the names you've likely heard of, plus trumpet (Eli Asher), trombone (Andy Hunter), bass (Kenny Davis), and drums (Donald Edwards). First two cuts are terrific, upbeat things just bubbling over. Less impressive when he gets solemn, with uncredited strings (Hunter also has a keyb credit) and Charmaine Lee's vocal fills on a Nigeria-themed number, but it builds to an impressive swell, whereas his similar "Ballad for Trayvon Martin" goes for elegiac simplicity. A-

Kaylé Brecher: Spirals and Lines (2012, Penchant Four): Singer, based in Philadelphia, fifth album since 1992. Don't see song credits but most seem to be originals -- obvious covers are "When Johnny Goes Marching Home" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," but she segues the latter into a corny patriotic anthem ("The House I Live In") and updates a Mingus blues for the white collar world. Long list of musicians, none I had heard of, shuttle in and out, including four trumpet/flugelhorn players and three trombonists but her favorite accompanist is Jimmy Parker on sousaphone -- mine too. B+(***)

Jaimeo Brown: Transcendence (2012 [2013], Motema): Drummer, first album, has a few side-credits going back a decade. Front cover shows an old black church, and features two additional names: JD Allen (tenor sax) and Chris Sholar (guitar, electronics). (Geri Allen might have been a better marketing pick, but she plays on only one track, where Sholar is always there.) The sax is a huge asset here, but everything else is swamped in gospel vocals -- Falu, Marisha Brown, Selah Brown, samples from Gee's Bend Singers -- a meditation on Afro-American history (including a side trip to Ghana) that doesn't seem to resolve much. B+(*)

Caswell Sisters: Alive in the Singing Air (2012 [2013], Turtle Ridge): Sara Caswell is a violinist, two albums under her name, more than a dozen side credits. Her solos here are fine, articulate, and get some real lift from pianist Fred Hersch, who does more here than any singer can ask. The other Caswell is Rachel, singer, working a standards songbook. Main complaint with her is the excessive scat, although her lyrics don't stick with you either. B-

Roger Chong: Live at the Trane (2012 [2013], self-released, CD+DVD): Guitarist, based in Toronto, third album, live with a keyboards-bass-drums quartet. Originals plus three covers which provide up moments: "Exactly Like You," "Work Song," "Mo Better Blues." Light fare -- hype sheet cites George Benson and Norman Brown as his influences -- and sometimes the keyb seems in the way (but sometimes it kicks back a soul jazz vibe, or states the melody in a useful way). But it's played loose, always pleasurable, and interesting enough. B+(**)

Dave Douglas Quintet: Time Travel (2012 [2013], Greenleaf Music): Same lineup as last year's Be Still -- Jon Irabagon (tenor sax), Matt Mitchell (piano), Linda Oh (bass), Rudy Royston (drums) -- minus the singer and the solemn tone, which gives them space to repeatedly flare out, even if the compositional matrix is the same fancy, slippery postbop Douglas has honed for years. The main thing you get is chops: he remains in a class by himself, so confident he's game to take on the hottest saxophonist he can find -- Potter, McCaslin, Strickland, now Irabagon, who is having one helluva year. A- [advance]

Boyd Lee Dunlop: The Lake Reflections (2012 [2013], Mr. B Sharp): Pianist, b. 1926 in North Carolina and spent most of his life in Buffalo, working in steel mills and railyards and playing piano in clubs at night; a local Hall of Famer but only cut his first album after turning 85. This is his second, solo piano improvisations; doesn't try to dazzle you, but keeps the ideas flowing. B+(**)

The Engines w/John Tchicai: Other Violets (2011-12 [2013], Not Two): Chicago quartet -- Dave Rempis (saxes), Jeb Bishop (trombone), Nate McBride (bass), and Tim Daisy (drums) -- playing live with the soon-to-be-late Afro-Danish saxophonist John Tchicai. Gets off to a rather slow start, perhaps the band too deferential to their guest, or their guest slow to suss out the band, but it picks up significantly toward the end. B+(***)

Ellery Eskelin: Trio New York II (2013, Prime Source): Sax-organ trio, with Gary Versace on the B3 and Gerald Cleaver on drums; second album together, the first dedicated to the tenor saxophonist's organ-playing mother. Likewise, this one is all standards, with a Monk piece, ohers like "Just One of Those Things," "After You've Gone," and "Flamingo." Versace stays clear of the usual soul jazz moves, giving this an odd delicacy, undercutting the spark but bringing out some of Eskelin's most poignant ballad craft. A-

Lisa Forkish: Bridges (2012 [2013], self-released): Oakland-based singer, originally from Oregon; second album, wrote a little more than half of the songs -- covers include "For What It's Worth," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "No More Blues" (Jobim, of course, and possibly the best thing here). Didn't sink in, but I did enjoy hearing "solidarity" in a song. B+(*)

Ken Fowser/Behn Gillece: Top Shelf (2012 [2013], Posi-Tone): Tenor sax and vibes, respectively; fourth album together, songs split 7-3 for Gillece. Backed by a sextet, with trombone, piano, bass, and drums. Postbop, runs fast and slick. B

Giacomo Gates: Miles Tones: Sings the Music of Miles Davis (2012 [2013], Savant): Singer, from Connecticut, sixth album since 1995, but he got a late start and is probably in his 60s. The music, by or more often associated with Miles Davis, is an invitation to vocalese, which he handles ably enough -- he's one of the few singers around who can scat handily. B+(**)

Rich Halley 4: Crossing the Passes (2012 [2013], Pine Eagle): Tenor saxophonist, has recorded since the 1980s, more so since he's approached retirement age. Quartet adds a second horn -- Michael Vlatkovich's trombone -- to bass (Clyde Reed) and drums (son Carson Halley). A-

Ross Hammond Quartet: Cathedrals (2013, Prescott): Guitarist, based in Sacramento, CA; has a handful of albums. Last cut here is a duet with drummer Alex Cline, a good chance to hone in on Hammond's attractive technique. But the rest of the album is dominated by Vinny Golia (tenor and soprano sax, flute) in an amazing tour de force that reduces Cline to keeping metronomic time. Steuart Liebig plays bass. A-

Curtis Hasselbring: Number Stations (2012 [2013], Cuneiform): Trombonist, studied at New England Conservatory and played in Boston bands like Either/Orchestra, then moved to New York, recorded in groups as disparate as Slavic Soul Party and Ballin' the Jack, finally recording his own album as The New Mellow Edwards. That band name is "featured" here, on his third album, and they're a motley bunch: Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Matt Moran (vibes, marimba), and two drummer/percussionists: Ches Smith and Satoshi Takeishi. Compositions have something to do with numeric codings read off shortwave radio broadcasts, but what you get is a mish-mash studded with brilliant solos, much as you'd expect if a band this talented just winged it. B+(***)

Reinmar Henschke: On Air (2009 [2013], Ozella): Pianist, b. 1959 in Germany; looks like his eighth album since 1988, although this is the only one AMG lists. Piano and keyb tracked with percussion and electronics, with bits of guest sax, vibes, guitar, percussion, clarinet, flute. Before I could sneer "pop jazz" it started growing on me, the rhythm figures hypnotic, the piano a bit sumptuous. One vocal, in English by Pascal von Wroblewsky (a name to remember) is a plus. B+(***)

The Kandinsky Effect: Synesthesia (2011 [2013], Cuneiform): Sax trio, based in Paris, recorded this debut album in Iceland. Walter Walker, from California, is credited with "saxophone/effects," writes most of the pieces. Gaël Petrina (bass, effects), from Argentina, and Caleb Dollister (drums, laptop), from Reno or Nashville or Los Angeles and based in New York, complete the trio. Rhythm veers toward jazztronica without being overly electronic, just enough to provide a stable base for Walker to riff over. B+(***)

Lisa Kirchner: Umbrellas in Mint (2012 [2013], Verdant World): Singer-songwriter, sixth album since 2000, although her musical experience goes back further, all the way to being daughter of classical composer Leon Kirchner, whose work she has produced. Wrote all the songs this time, in contrast to her 2011 album, where she wrote lyrics to pieces by modern classical composers from Ives to Marsalis. Group here includes Xavier Davis (piano), Sherman Irby (sax), Ron Jackson (guitar), and "Bill" Schimmel (accordion). Moves along smartly, the lyrics engaging. B+(**)

The Dave Lalama Big Band: The Hofstra Project (2012 [2013], Lalama Music): Pianist, teaches at Hofstra, pulled this big band together from Hofstra alumni, including tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama (seems to be his brother). Lalama learned his craft with Woody Herman, as should be clear from the punchy section work (not that anyone steps up to play clarinet). Not much more, though. B

Daniel Lantz Trio: Plays Bond (2012 [2013], Do Music): Pianist, b. 1976 in Sweden. Has two previous trio records, plus one record with "funk sextet" Beat Funktion. Trio includes Erik Ojala on bass and Daniel Olsson on drums, playing 12 themes from James Bond films. That should be pretty dull, but they make liberal use of two "featuring" artists, tenor saxophonist Roger Nordling and vocalist Sani Gamedze, and both do a fine job of rounding this out. B+(*)

Joe Locke: Lay Down My Heart: Blues & Ballads Vol 1 (2012 [2013], Motéma): Vibraphonist, has close to 30 albums since 1983, most paired off with pianists -- Ryan Cohan here, plus David Finck on bass and Jaimeo Brown on drums. Two originals, seven covers, the most immediately appealing the ones that skip around the edges of the familiar, like "Ain't No Sunshine" (Bill Withers) or "Makin' Whoopee." B+(**)

El Niño Machuca: Searching Your South/Buscando tu Sur (2012 [2013], Ozella): Guitarist, from Sevilla in Spain, signs his songs Paco Machuca (about half here). First album, accompanied by Neil Doyle (bass, flugelhorn), Javi Ceballas (Spanish guitar), jaleos and handclaps. B+(**)

Rob Mazurek Octet: The Skull Sessions (2011 [2013], Cuneiform): Chicago-based cornet player, part of Chicago Underground, also São Paulo Underground, combines both angles here and then some. The Brazilian contingent: Mauricio Takara (cavaquinho [a ukulele], percussion), Guilherme Granado (keyboards, electronica), Thomas Rohrer (rabeca [a fiddle], C melody sax), and Carlos Issa (guitar, electronics). From Chicago: Nicole Mitchell (piccolo, flute, voice), Jason Adasiewicz (vibes), John Herndon (drums), and Mazurek. Combination is busy, noisy, chaotic. Helps to focus on the cornet, which usually soars above, or the sheer energy vibe, especially when the cornet is engulfed. B+(***)

Barbara Morrison: A Sunday Kind of Love (2010-12 [2013], Savant): Singer, b. 1952 in Michigan, got her start opposite Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson in 1974, toiled a couple decades in the Johnny Otis Show, has a dozen records since 1995. I haven't heard any of them, but would be real surprised if any hold a candle to this one. The secret isn't a fine-but-who-are-they pianio trio -- Stuart Elster? Richard Simon? Lee Spath? -- so it must be Houston Person, who is more than just featured here. But it's the singer who hits one softball after another out of the park: "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," "The Green Door," "A Sunday Kind of Love," "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Let's Stay Together" -- only "I Cover the Waterfront" is out of her zone. Exquisite: the medley of "Smile/Make Someone Happy." I dare anyone not to. A

New York Voices: Live: With the WDR Big Band Cologne (2008 [2013], Palmetto): Long-running vocal group, down to a quartet here -- Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan, Peter Eldridge -- with seven albums since 1989. This is a live shot backed by the WDR Big Band Cologne -- a sharp group we've heard with damn near everyone, and here they provide uniformly solid support, a big help for a group where the voices slide all over the place. B-

Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge: River Runs (2011 [2013], Summit): Composer/arranger, has three albums on Sea Breeze (1995-2004), one on MAMA. Jazz Surge is his big band, introduced on the 1995 album, so it's not like he's jumping on a bandwagon. He subtitles this "A Concerto for Jazz Guitar, Saxophone, & Orchestra," and aside from the prominence of guitar (LaRue Nickerson) and tenor sax (Jack Wilkins), this really is contemporary classical music more than jazz, especially with the added orchestra (flutes, oboes, bassoon and harp, three French horns, and a phalanx of strings, the violin solos reserved Rob Thomas). Seems like I should hate it, and I started to, then lots of little things won me over. Nice booklet. B+(*)

Steve Owen: Stand Up Eight (2011 [2013], OA2): Just composer-arranger here, but plays sax elsewhere. Big band, conducted by Dan Gailey, some names I recognize in the reeds -- Todd DelGiudice, Don Aliquo. Owen studied at UNT and University of Northern Colorado, and teaches at University of Oregon. First record, as far as I can tell, although he appears on similar big band efforts by Dan Gailey and Dan Cavanagh -- probably a lot of intersection in those groups. Wrote 7 of 9 pieces, covering Cole Porter and Radiohead. He gets a wide range of effects, many I don't care for, although the spoken word and shadings of "State of the Union" is an exception, and the solo spots are striking. B

Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: The Art of the Duet, Volume One (2012 [2013], Leo): The Brazilian avant-saxophonist has been releasing records at a furious pace recently, including two batches of three each last year, and three more recently. All of this batch include Shipp, who played piano in David S. Ware's now-legendary quartet among much else, including a 1996 duet with Perelman (Bendito of Santa Cruz). Over the last two years no one has produced more top flight music than Perelman, but I'm starting to wonder if we're getting too much of the same thing. At least that's where I was stuck on the two new quartet albums, but the duets here are clear and sparkling, both sides coherent and connected. Not that the inevitable Volume Two won't be too much . . . On to the quartets. A-

Ivo Perelman: The Edge (2012 [2013], Leo): Tenor sax quartet with Matthew Shipp (piano), Michael Bisio (bass), and Whit Dickey (drums) -- Dickey goes way back with Shipp, and Bisio is the current bassist in Shipp's piano trio. Perelman indeed seems on edge early on, where the going is rougher than need be, but he does finds himself by the end. B+(**)

Ivo Perelman: Serendipity (2011 [2013], Leo): Another tenor sax quartet, reportedly accidental: session was originally scheduled to be trio with Matthew Shipp (piano) and Gerald Cleaver (drums) -- that trio was recorded a week later as The Foreign Legion -- but when one was late they called in bassist William Parker and wound up with a quartet. Sometimes hard to judge exactly what Parker adds, but Perelman is remarkably relaxed and fluid from the start, and builds up to some of his most impressive blowing ever. A-

Bill Peterson Trio: Ruby Diamond (2011 [2013], Summit): Pianist, teaches at Florida State, first album, a trio with Rodney Jordan on bass and Jamison Ross on drums. Mostly originals (one by Jordan, also "Shenandoah" by trad.), mostly shout outs to fellow pianists ("Thelonious," "Horace," "Oscar," "McCoy," "Bob James," "Mr. Wynton Kelly"; "Marcus" is probably Roberts -- Jordan came from his trio). Solid grounding. B+(**)

Monica Ramey: And the Beegie Adair Trio (2012 [2013], Adair Music Group): Standards singer, second album, rolls out 14 songs, 72 minutes, backed by Adair's piano trio plus horn spots for George Tidwell (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Dennis Soles (saxes, flute). As is often the case, this rises or slips on the songs -- "I Thought About You" caught my ear, then the pairing of "Witchcraft" and "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" -- but she frames them nicely, can turn on the gusto or sass or take a delicate ballad. The band does the job, which is all it really takes. B+(***)

Shamie Royston: Portraits (2011 [2013], self-released): Pianist, first record, piano trio, with Ivan Taylor on bass and her father Rudy Royston on drums, plus a Camille Thurman vocal. Nice piano work, with a gentle swing. Can't say the vocal is a plus. B+(*)

Reg Schwager/Michel Lambert: Trio Improvisations (2001-02 [2013], Jazz From Rant): Guitarist Schwager was b. 1962 in Netherlands, moved to New Zealand when he was 3, moved again at 6 to Canada, based now in Toronto. Has a handful of albums since 1985. Drummer Lambert plays with François Carrier and Maïkotron Unit. To make a trio they add Misha Mengelberg (piano), Kenny Wheeler (trumpet), or Michael Stuart (sax, probably tenor) for three improv cuts each. Mengelberg and Wheeler are very famous and acquit themselves well. Stuart isn't famous: b. 1948 in Jamaica, moved to Toronto in 1969, did a tour with Elvin Jones but has scant discography. (AMG gives him a couple dozen credits, but many are for engineering classical recordings, and some are dubious -- e.g., playing percussion on Love's Forever Changes.) His cuts are as strong as the stars', making him someone I'd like to hear more from. B+(***)

Markus Schwartz/Monvelyno Alexis: Vo-Duo Nou La (2011 [2013], Lakou Brooklyn): Drummer, b. in Copenhagen, Denmark, based for the last twenty years "in the heart of Lakou Brooklyn," "learning the wealth and complexity of traditional Haitian religious music." Alexis, born and raised in Haiti, plays guitar, sings, and co-wrote most of the songs. B

Jan Shapiro: Piano Bar After Hours (2012 [2013], Singing Empress): Standards singer, came out of St. Louis and wound up teaching at Berklee. Has at least three previous albums. This one is almost only accompanied by piano, with five pianists in rotation -- one cut has bass and drums. A very precise, disciplined vocalist, she doesn't need much help, but great songs work better than not-so-great ones. B+(*)

Edward Simon Trio: Live in New York at Jazz Standard (2010 [2013], Sunnyside): Pianist, from Venezuela, a dozen or so albums since 1993, at least three with this trio: John Patitucci (bass) and Brian Blade (drums). Live they stretch out on five long pieces, three Simon originals and covers of Jobim and Coltrane. Bright, lively piano jazz. B+(***)

Jim Snidero: Stream of Consciousness (2012 [2013], Savant): Alto saxophonist, 17 albums since 1987, generally a mainstream/postbop guy, but looking for "strong, free-spirited younger players" this time, coming up with Paul Bollenback (guitar), Linda Oh (bass), and Rudy Royston (drums). Actually, he winds up running away from them more often than not. B+(***)

Dayna Stephens: That Nepenthetic Place (2012 [2013], Sunnyside): Tenor saxophonist, b. 1978, third album since 2007, I recognize him more as a sideman -- looking at his credits list I see few memorable albums, but looking at my notes he was repeatedly the standout musician on those albums. Quartet -- Taylor Eigsti (piano), Joe Sanders (bass), Justin Brown (drums) -- plus guests on scattered tracks: Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet), Jaleel Shaw (alto sax), Gretchen Parlato (vocals). The vocal feature's slow burn is nice in itself, the horns more dynamic, the tenor again the best thing here. Looked up "nepenthetic" and didn't find anything (else). B+(**)

Jacqui Sutton: Notes From the Frontier: A Musical Journey (2012, Toy Blue Typewriter): Interpretive singer from Houston, second album, some kind of concept on discovering America. Starts with an interesting banjo-paced take on "Summertime," then segues to something unsingable. Album continues to teeter like that, with some hot trumpet the high spot. B-

Melvin Taylor: Taylor Made (2012 [2013], Eleven East): Guitarist, sings some -- one song here, with another sung by Bernell Anderson, no better -- has a half-dozen albums going back as far as 1982. Band includes bass (a second Melvin Taylor), keyboard, and drums. Six songs, one from Isaac Hayes. Nice little groove record. B+(*)

Jacky Terrasson: Gouache (2012 [2013], Sunnyside): Pianist, b. 1966 in Germany, has about 15 albums since breaking in on Blue Note in 1994. Very eclectic here, trying lots of things -- some electric, a few cuts with bass clarinet (Michel Portal) or flugelhorn (Stephane Belmondo), two vocal cuts (Cécile McLorin Salvant), non-vocal covers of Justin Bieber and Amy Winehouse, a couple pieces that celebrate his own fleetness (one called "Try to Catch Me"). Pretty much all works, too. B+(***)

Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet: Hustlin' for a Gig (2012, Housekat): Ginny Carr, Robert McBride, André Enceneat, and Holly Shockey, with all but one of the songs penned by Carr ("This Is the Life"). Third group album, but they (Carr and McBride, at least) claim to have been together for twenty-some years. The spirited interplay and cleverness wears on you (or me, anyway). B-

John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Culture (2012 [2013], Acoustical Concepts): Trumpet player, came up in Woody Herman's band, should explain his taste in bright and brassy. Fourth album with his unconventional big band Abstract Truth. Pieces include a 3-part suite and an arrangement of "Footprints." Strong solos, some interesting quirks in the arrangements. B+(***)

The Verve Jazz Ensemble: It's About Time (2012 [2013], self-released): Five musicians are credited, but only four pictured: Tatum Greenblatt (trumpet), Jon Blanck (tenor sax), Matt Oestreicher (piano), and Josh Feldstein (drums) -- odd man out is bassist Chris DeAngelis. First album, six bop-era standards plus three alternate takes, nice job on each. B+(*)

Michael Webster: Momentus (2011 [2012], OA2): Tenor saxophonist, from Ottawa, Canada; studied at Manhattan School of Music, based in New York. Second album, expansive postbop with Ingrid Jensen's trumpet/flugelhorn for contrast, Jesse Lewis on guitar, Chris Dingman on vibes, plus bass and drums. B+(*)

Bob Wolfman: Transition (2012, self-released): Guitarist-singer-songwriter, from New York, first album, produced by Larry Coryell with piano, bass, and drums. Aside from the blues cover ("Born Under a Bad Sign") Wolfman's a truly awful singer. Some nifty guitar work here and there -- until proven otherwise, I'd chalk that up to Coryell. C

From Rhapsody Streamnotes

Greyboy Allstars: Inland Emperor (2013, Knowledge Room): Started out in the mid-1990s during the brief acid jazz boom with DJ Greyboy the organizing force, and while I wouldn't call them stars, at least I've heard of saxophonist Karl Denson and organist Robert Walter. The instrumental funk is not without interest (e.g., "Trashtruck"), but the vocals are. B

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom: No Morphine No Lillies (2013, Foxhaven/Royal Potato Family): Drummer, third album, her second called Boom Tic Boom a smashing piano trio with Myra Melford and Todd Sickafoose plus "guest" violinist Jenny Scheinman. Some "second system complex" here as Scheinman becomes a regular, giving the group two stars to try to keep in sync, and a new batch of guests, including a Rachel Friedman vocal, Erik Friedlander cello, and a pair of trumpets. Too much to sort out quickly, but the pianist is brilliant as ever, and the closer with the trumpets is deliriously over the top. A-

 March, 2013 May, 2013